Lerarenopleidingen Science en Wiskunde/Rekenen

Tell me what you are doing – discussions with teachers and children

Tijdschrift voor Didactiek van de Beta-wetenschappen, uitgegeven door het Freudenthal Instituut, Universiteit Utrecht in de periode 1983-2014

Hart, K.

Tijdschrift voor Didactiek van de Beta-wetenschappen
1985 – 3(2), 140-157

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There are few places in the world where people are satisfied with the mathematical understanding displayed by their children, whatever the criteria of success dictated by either the needs or the educational philosophy of the country. The fault may lie in the nature of mathematics (or the nature of the mathematics we choose to teach) or in the methods we use to teach it. I suggest however that unless we can somehow match the mathematics to the child very soon, we are in grave danger of losing mathematics as a school subject, accepted by educators as a necessary part of every child’s education. It may be replaced by social arithmetic and the use of the calculator for the majority of children with mathematics reserved for an elite few, as the study of Greek is today in Britain. Some would consider this a sensible step but if one’s philosophy of education includes the desirability of giving all children access to their cultural heritage and the products of man’s rational nature then the suggestion is to be deplored. The only alternative therefore is to reconsider the way we teach the subject and how we select material of a suitable level for the pupil. The suitability depends to a large extent on the level of knowledge already possessed by the child and a discussion of the methods we might use to discover this level form the major part of this paper.

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